Australian Wetlands Database

Ramsar wetlands

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Interlaken Lakeside Reserve

Overview

Key facts and figures:

Date of listing:

16 November 1982

Lake Crescent is a permanent lake with a maximum depth of 2.3 metres (2008),  Photo: Ken Morgan

Australian Ramsar site number:

11

Criteria: 

1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9

State/Territory:

Tasmania

Area:

517 hectares

Drainage Division or IMCRA  region:

Tasmania

Wetland type: 

  • O - Permanent freshwater lakes (over 8 ha); includes large oxbow lakes
  • Ts - Seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes/pools on inorganic soils; includes sloughs, potholes, seasonally flooded meadows, sedge marshes

Key features of the site:

The Interlaken Lakeside Reserve Ramsar site lies approximately 20 kilometres west of the township of Tunbridge, Tasmania at an altitude of about 800m above sea level. The site includes the north-western corner of Lake Crescent, the marshy areas at the lakes perimeter, as well as Lakeside Island and a large section of the dry land between Lake Crescent and Lake Sorell. The site excludes the private property block within it.

Lake Crescent is a permanent freshwater water body. It is separated from Lake Sorell to its immediate north by a low strip of land, and the waters in each lake are connected by the Interlaken Canal and a drain through the marsh. Although the drain and canal control water flowing into Lake Crescent, and the outlet structure on Lake Crescent controls water exiting the lake, water levels are still influenced by rainfall and evaporation, which can result in large fluctuations in lake levels. In drought periods lake levels drop considerably.

Freshwater aquatic vegetation communities are present on the site with the dominant plant species present being Fine Twigsedge and Greater Waterribbons. Running Marshflower, Floating Clubsedge, Amphibious Watermilfoil and Floating Pondweed are also common.

Lake Crescent has a high abundance of phytoplankton. The site supports a large population of the nationally endangered fish, Golden Galaxias.

When full, the lake provides important habitat, for feeding, resting and breeding, for the Black Swan and up to five species of ducks. Five migratory bird species listed under international agreements, the Great Egret, Cattle Egret, Latham's Snipe, White-bellied Sea Eagle and the Caspian Tern, have used the Interlaken Lakeside Reserve for feeding and resting.

The Interlaken Lakeside Reserve is a public reserve and it is used for fishing, recreational boating, and duck shooting. The site is also traditionally country of the Lairmairrener people, who used the resources of the lake for food, including eels and birdlife.

Justification of the listing criteria:

The Interlaken Ramsar site meets six of the nine criteria:

Criterion 1: Interlaken Lakeside Reserve Ramsar site is a valuable regional representation of two Ramsar wetland types 'O' (Permanent freshwater lakes >8ha) and 'Ts' (Seasonal/intermittent freshwater marshes) within the Tasmanian Drainage Division (DEWHA 2009). Analysis of Tasmania's vegetation mapping (TASVEG) indicates that this is one of the largest intermittent freshwater marshes present in the Tasmanian Drainage Division and it is particularly unusual at this elevation (800 m AHD) (Department of Primary Industries and Water (DPIW) 2009). It is considered to be in good condition relative to other large freshwater wetlands in Tasmania (Kirkpatrick and Harwood 1981).

Criterion 2: Lake Crescent, including Interlaken Lakeside Reserve Ramsar site, is habitat for the endemic freshwater fish golden galaxias (Galaxias auratus) (Fulton 1990; Hardie 2003a). This species is listed as 'endangered' under the EPBC Act. Golden galaxias' natural distribution is confined to lakes Sorell and Crescent and associated wetlands and small tributaries. Although there is no quantitative data on its abundance throughout its 76 km2 range, it is considered to be locally abundant, particularly in Lake Crescent (Hardie 2003a). Golden galaxias occurs at much higher densities (10 times) in Lake Crescent than in Lake Sorell and this is believed to reflect greater predation pressure of the trout population in Lake Sorell (Hardie 2003a). The intermittent marshes adjacent to the lakes are thought to provide an important nursery area for juvenile fish (Hardie 2003a; Jackson 2004). Although golden galaxias is abundant in these two lakes, its limited distribution, threats from introduced species (carp and trout) and habitat degradation have caused the species to be listed under the EPBC Act.

Criterion 3: The site is an essential element of the maintenance of ecological diversity in the area. It supports several species which are rare and/or poorly reserved. The site supports one flora species listed as threatened in Tasmania; southern swampgrass (Amphibromus neesii), rare, Threatened Species Protection Act 1995. The interesting nature of the phytoplankton community, and its differences from nearby Lake Sorrell, are of scientific value. The wetland provides important habitat for many species of macroinvertebrates, including the hydobiid gastropod (Austropygus sp.), which is endemic to Lakes Sorrell and Crescent (Cleary 1997) (RIS).

The Interlaken Lakeside Reserve site supports a significant proportion of the population of the nationally listed golden galaxias (Galaxiella auratus), which is also listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List. The golden galaxias is endemic to Lakes Sorell and Crescent and associated streams and wetlands. Therefore, the Interlaken Lakeside Reserve site is considered to support a population of a species important for maintaining the biological diversity of the biogeographical region.

Criterion 4: The site provides habitat for the nationally listed golden galaxias during spawning, with the Interlaken Lakeside Reserve and intermittent marshes adjacent to the lakes providing important nursery habitat for juveniles. Therefore, the site is considered to support a population of a species during a critical life cycle stage.

Criterion 8: The wetlands in Interlaken Lakeside Reserve Ramsar site provide important breeding habitat for the endangered, endemic golden galaxias. The galaxiid's small, adhesive eggs are typically deposited on aquatic vegetation and rocky substrates, and the intermittent marshes adjacent to the lakes are thought to provide an important nursery area for juvenile fish (Hardie 2003a; Jackson 2004). Adult fish prefer the rocky lakeshore habitat (Hardie 2003a) and, to a lesser degree, marsh habitat. Given the high relative abundance of the Lake Crescent golden galaxias population, the Interlaken Lakeside Reserve Ramsar site provides an important spawning, foraging and refuge (from predators) habitat for the species.

Criterion 9: The Interlaken Lakeside Reserve wetlands support a significant proportion of the entire golden galaxias population. The golden galaxias is endemic to Tasmania and only occurs naturally in lakes Sorell and Crescent and associated streams and wetlands. It is much more common in Lake Crescent (10 times the density of Lake Sorell) and habitat critical to its survival includes all areas where the species naturally occurs. Lake Crescent (and associated intermittent marshes) is approximately 2,285 ha while Lake Sorell (and associated intermittent marshes) is approximately 5,212 ha. Given the higher densities of golden galaxias in Lake Crescent, it may contain up to 80% of the population of this species. Given that the Interlaken Lakeside Reserve wetlands comprise approximately 15% of the wetlands present in Lake Crescent, it is probable that the Interlaken Lakeside Reserve could regularly support 1% or more of the population of this species.

Please see the More Information page for additional information on this Ramsar site and access to the Ramsar Information sheets and other associated site documents.